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Humane Religion Magazine

July - August 1996 Issue

LOVE WITHOUT LIMIT

The Revd. James Thompson

Almost two thousand years ago, Jesus of Nazareth was crucified. He accused the pious people of his time of limiting God's love and compassion to those who believed and behaved as they did. They considered all others to be outside the circle of God's love and compassion--to be accursed.

I am convinced that if Jesus were alive today, the modern counterparts of the Scribes and Pharisees--the pontiffs, prelates and priests--would be the first to try and get rid of him. And for the same reason: they also try to limit the mercy, love, and compassion of Almighty God.

As a priest of the worldwide Anglican communion, I accuse each of its branches of falsely portraying the love, mercy, and compassion of God by making it far too small. And to the leaders of every church I say: "You take the God of the Bible and by your theology shrink Him and His love, claiming it only embraces humanity.

"The God of my Bible made room for the animals within the ark, but you exclude them from your ark of salvation. My God is concerned about the beasts of the field and the birds of the air, whereas you have limited His love and all embracing compassion to your own species."

For that which befalls the sons of men befalls beasts, even one thing befalls them; as the one dies, so dies the other. Yes, they all have one breath and spirit, so that a man has no pre-eminence over a beast.

Ecclesiastes 3:19

Some day I will be called upon to give an account of my stewardship: what will I be able to say to One who called Himself the Good shepherd? And how much longer are Christians going to shirk their responsibility of being a mouthpiece for the defenseless of God's creation?

Excerpted from Retreat From Responsibility.

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